Sunday Afternoon Walk in Rochester

Monday, July 27th, 2009 @ %I:%M %p | Photography

fadedsigns.jpgI had originally planned for a bike ride today but decided for a different form of exercise: take the camera for a random walk through Rochester. Starting out I didn’t have a particular theme in mind however one came up while walking: faded wall signs. To me this is a very American city thing: painted advertisements and billboards on the side of buildings.

Didn’t have a specific route other than walk in a loop through downtown. I started down East Ave and almost immediately had second thoughts about not bringing a rain coat or umbrella: ahead the clouds looked ominous and soon the first drops came down. It didn’t seem to push through though, nothing like Saturday’s downpour, the big trees along the avenue giving good shelter. Coming up to Alexander Street the rain was a bit more serious – what better excuse than to slip into Murphy’s Law for a little break? Must say hi to Mark, after all!

It cleared up, I crossed Main Street and came to the St Paul area. Several buildings here with these beautiful, old, fading signs. Of course this is not the most thriving area of town which is why there are these older buildings with the fading paint. Although, a number of these old warehouses are being converted to apartments and lofts so some revival of the area is upcoming. I was quite pleased to notice that the renovators have left many of the signs intact as you can see in the pictures.

While off-topic for the theme – or at least I suspect they would object to the fading aspect – a group of women on the terrasse of a wine bar on St Paul’s asked me to take their picture, apparently celebrating a college reunion. One asked if I was Canadian. That was a first: Scottish, Irish, Scandinavian, yes but not Canadian yet, eh? I fulfilled the request and carried on via Andrews Street eventually crossing over the Corn Hill area.

Passing Main Street again I saw another scene that’s quite American to me: a diner, news boxes, pay phones and the “Main St” sign all together! Along the river, crossing at Ford Street, right on Monroe taking a picture of the theater. An oddity and sadness at the same time. Such a characteristic building it housed a sex shop until recently, since then bought by Ride Aid and it’s unclear what they’ll do with it. In a perfect world it would restored and put back into function for the community ala the Little Theater.

Back on Park Avenue finally took a photo I have wanted to shoot for a long time: of one of the buildings with the nuclear shelter sign. Such a fantastic leftover of the 50-ies and the cold war. Always reminds me of my basic military training in The Netherlands regarding nuclear attacks: if you saw a very bright white flash you were supposed to (quickly) lie face down covering any exposed skin like your hands under your body. Of course the moment you see that flash any burning of exposed skin happens at that same moment so the lying down… not making much difference… always had great temptation then to engage in a happy debate with the sergeant on the merits of these instructions (I may have fallen for that temptation once or twice).

As ever: accompanying photos in the gallery.



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  • Eroica 2015
  • Kids, guns, whatever.
  • Macintosh turns 30
  • I can now confirm the existence of the Area 50 page
  • Bike commuting, The Prequel
  • Tour of California – Time Trial
  • Portola Valley bike ride
  • Finally cut the cable
  • The Weekend Everybody Smiled

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